OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 finally unifies iMessage messaging

iMessage fragmentation across devices has been a common complaint ever since iMessage was first released, and although Apple has taken steps to mitigate the issue, it hasn’t yet been truly solved. The problem was exacerbated with the release of Mountain Lion which brought iMessage to the desktop (or to the laptop, depending on what you use), where users of OS X would be allowed to join in the iMessaging fun – but with a very important caveat: the iChat (now rechristened “Messages”)  messaging software would only register with the iMessage email account, so iMessages sent to your phone number would not be received.

This meant that users would have to explicitly take care to send and receive messages from their iMessage-enabled email addresses; but while you can always select where and how you initiate conversations, you can’t very well choose how and where perfectly random strangers will choose to contact you. This limitation also applied to the iPad, however iOS 6 beta seeds included a fix for that, adding the option to initiate and receive messages from the phone number associated with your iMessage account.

It pleases us to inform you that with Mountain Lion 10.8.2 (as of the latest developer seed, 12C50) this feature has been extended to Messages on OS X, and in the future, your iMessages will be synchronized across all platforms. Here is a screenshot of how your iMessage account looks in iMessage on 10.8.2:

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EasyBCD 2.0 RC1

EasyBCD Logo

I’m pleased to announce that the EasyBCD 2.0 beta program, years in progress, has now reached a release candidate build with EasyBCD 2.0 RC1 Build 100.

Please help us make the 2.0 gold release a perfect build by downloading and testing EasyBCD 2.0 RC1. There’s a very long list of changes, you can view the build-by-build changelogs in the link above.

If all goes well, we can expect a 2.0 RTM release in the very near future, God willing.


Windows Vista SP1 RC1, Server 2008 Nov. CTP Released to Testers

Microsoft [[MSFT]] has just released another version of its most-eagerly anticipated Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, labeled as Release Candidate 1; along with another build of Windows Server 2008: the November CTP. Both releases are available to official testers from Microsoft Connect.

This is the third SP1 release made “available” to the public, starting with the leaked build back in August, followed closely by the first official release of Windows Vista SP1 beta in September.

Vista SP1 RC1 (build tag: 6001-17042-071107-1618) has been available as both an slip-streamed ISO image and a standalone upgrade utility. The slip-streamed ISO image is available in either English or Japanese, while the upgrade utility supports the five main Windows Vista localizations (Arabic, English, French, German, and Japanese).

The Windows Server 2008 November CTP (build tag: 6001-17042-071107-1618) is only available as an ISO in English in multiple flavors (Web Server & Standard Edition) for multiple platforms (x86, x64, and IA64).

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Introducing the EasyBCD Debug Toolkit (and EasyBCD 1.7.1 Beta)

Just a quick heads-up: EasyBCD 1.7.1 has entered the beta stage and can be grabbed at the usual beta builds thread.

EasyBCD 1.7.1 is a bugfix build that addresses two issues that have come up since our (most stable release ever!) 1.7 final a couple of months back. Perhaps you’ll find our new EasyBCD 1.7.1 Debug Toolkit to be of greater interest, though.

The all-new EasyBCD Debug Toolkit is a way to “trick” EasyBCD into seeing a system configuration that’s not really there. You just run EasyBCD with a command-line switch (/debugbcd and /debugbp) and you can then have it use fake info (in the form of a text file containing the stdout dump you’d like EasyBCD to see) instead of actually checking your current system configuration and going by those settings instead.

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Internet Explorer 7 “Updated” – But Not Really…

Steve Reynolds, program manager of the Microsoft [[MSFT]] Internet Explorer development team, has just announced an “update” of sorts to Internet Explorer 7 a year or so after its original release in 2006. Never mind the fact that we were promised regular updates and that “Internet Explorer 7 won’t be like IE6” with regards to lack of new features and updates, what’s up with the list of the things that have changed with this new version!? Have a look for yourself at the “changelog:”

  1. No need for WGA verification in order to get Internet Explorer 7
  2. The menu bar is now visible by default.
  3. The Internet Explorer 7 online tour has updated how-to’s. Also, the “first-run” experience includes a new overview.
  4. We’ve included a new MSI installer that simplifies deployment for IT administrators in enterprises. Learn more about it here.

Interesting… Here’s our take on these “updates” 

  1. It really shouldn’t have required WGA in the first place – Microsoft (for some odd reason) guarantees users of pirated versions of Windows “immediate” access to any security-related patches, upgrades, and hotfixes. Doesn’t Microsoft tout Internet Explorer 7 as a security-prioritized upgrade?
  2. Noooo! We love the hidden menu bar! It’s clean, it’s clutter-free, and it gives IE7 a great look. Obviously the reason they’ve put it back is that users had trouble getting the menu to show (hint: press `alt` to make it appear), but who actually uses the menu bar anyway?! At least make it a first-run option… please? Sure, you can make it hidden again by flicking a switch in the options panel, but that’s just so wrong on so many levels…
  3. Not exactly what we’d call an upgrade to Internet Explorer itself so much as it is an improvement to the external documentation. It’s just a file hosted on MS servers that users can opt to view.
  4. Nothing more than an upgrade to the packaging/deployment for Internet Explorer 7, albeit a most-welcome one for sysadmins and software integrators everywhere.

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Want to Permanently Disable Driver Verification in Vista x64?

Would you like to permanently disable driver verification in Windows Vista x64? Tired of pressing F8 at every boot?

An upcoming version of EasyBCD might just do the trick – but we need testers first! In the past we’ve introduced several changes to EasyBCD that made it easier to load certain drivers on Windows Vista x64 Edition, but now we think we have something that might give your F8 key a rest for once and for all.

If you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, are currently using (or trying to) unsigned drivers, and are willing to help us test this new solution, please post a reply below… This could be your chance!

Windows Longhorn Server Beta 3 Public Downloads!

Microsoft has just released the public downloads for Windows Longhorn Server Beta 3, not even a month after the April CTP!

Even more exciting, it’s a public download! Now anyone who wants to test out Longhorn can do so, with LHS Beta 3. It’s basically a beta-quality version of the April CTP, not too many more features; but supposedly faster (due to compilation optimizations), and more reliable. But we haven’t tested it yet, so don’t take this to the bank for fear of an overdraft.

In our opinion, Windows Longhorn Server and Windows Vista are entire opposites. If you’ve been holding out on the LHS-love because of lack-luster Vista performance, bugs, and instability: don’t worry, LHS isn’t like that – even now in the Beta stage. 

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Windows Longhorn Server April CTP

Windows Longhorn Server April CTP has just been made available for download to official tech beta testers over at Microsoft Connect. The last build available was 6001-16497-070330-1510 for the February CTP, released two months ago.

The LHS April ’07 CTP is build 6001-16497-070330-1720 and adds quite a few new features, and brings LHS down to the real playing field. With the April CTP, it seems we can finally say that Microsoft has a real beta product on their hands – unlike previous LHS builds that had a general incomplete feel to them.

Pay close attention to the services, application server, and MMC – quite a few changes to keep up with. With 1720, Microsoft has made available 9 binary downloads, including the general x86/x64 installation media, the LHS WDK, the April CTP for the Itanic, in addition to the usual symbol packages for each build as well as the Checked Builds for developers.

x64: wsl_6001-16497-070330-1720_x86fre_server-KB3SFRE_EN_DVD.iso crc: 0x238801E6 x86: wsl_6001-16497-070330-1720_x64fre_server-KB3SxFRE_EN_DVD.iso crc: 0xB27FF9A0 Continue reading